SPORTS LIBRARY, Claflin, men's basketball

The Claflin University Panthers defeated Auburn University at Montgomery 91-59 on opening day of the Gulf South Conference (GSC)/Southern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (SIAC) Challenge Friday in Tullis Arena on the campus of Claflin University.

Claflin, 1-0, will face Montevallo in the challenge final game Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Jaleel Charles posted a double-double, 19 points and 13 rebounds, in leading the Panthers. Kobie Williams came off the bench to contribute 18 points and Benjamin “Tre” Williams tallied 16 points for Claflin.

Austin Lawton tossed in nine points and three blocked shots, while Triston Thompson added six points to go along with six assists.

Claflin finished the game shooting 60.8% (31-of-51) from the field. In the second half, the Panthers shot a sizzling 73.9% (17-of-23) from the floor.

Auburn-Montgomery ended the game hitting just 22 of 73 shots for 30%. The Warhawks were led by Desmond DeRamus, with 16 points followed 10 points from Reagan Eubanks.

In the first half, it was Lawton and Kobie Williams who provided the sparkplug the Panthers needed in breaking open a close contest. Lawton’s blocked shot followed by a three-pointer from Kobie Williams ignited a 10-1 run by the Panthers.

The scoring spurt expanded a 12-9 Claflin lead to 22-10 with 8:34 left in the opening period.

Eubanks halted the Claflin run with a three-pointer, pulling the visitors to within nine, 22-13, at the 8:10 mark.

That would be the closest Auburn-Montgomery would get as Claflin finished the half with a 16-5 run to lead 38-18 at intermission.

Charles and “Tre” Williams poured in seven points each to lead the Claflin offense in the half, which shot 50% from the floor. Charles also pulled down nine rebounds, eight on the defensive end in the half.

The Panthers' defense held the Warhawks to 22.3 % from the fields (7-of-31).

In the second half, the Panthers continued to put points on the scoreboard, taking a commanding 54-24 lead off a three-point basket by “Tre” Williams with 15:24 remaining in the contest.

Claflin would outscore Auburn-Montgomery by three points the rest of the way at 37-34.

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